A witness has tied Derrick Todd Lee to DNA samples marking him as the South Louisiana Serial Killer. Wednesday, during the third day of testimony, a State Police DNA expert used scientific data to say, without doubt, Derrick Lee was the man who savagely raped and murdered Charlotte Murray Pace in May 2002.
DNA expert Tasha Poe testified that she was the first person to find, at least scientifically, that Derrick Lee is the South Louisiana Serial Killer. Prosecutor Dana Cummings questioned Poe on those DNA matches.
Cummings: "Every single location?"
Cummings: "Every single match?"
Cummings: "You knew you had the right person?"
Cummings: "What did you do?"
Poe: "I called my boss immediately."
Poe also confirmed that Lee's DNA matches with five other women killed in East Baton Rouge parish. It was from one single swab gathered May 5, 2003 at Lee's home that led to his capture. Defense attorneys attacked the swab evidence with little impact.
"What's important is that the DNA swab was taken, that it was handled properly and handed into the Crime Lab for testing. That's what's important," said lead prosecutor John Sinquefield.
Jurors also heard testimony from LSU Medical School Chief of Pathology Alfredo Suarez. Suarez described Pace's murder scene as "overkill" -- saying whoever killed Pace did not break off the attack after she died.
Suarez witnessed Pace's autopsy. He said blunt trauma cracked her skull. He then showed 39 pictures of Pace's body to the jury, including stab wounds piercing Murray's heart and lungs and pictures showing cuts to her hands -- which according to Suarez is a clear indicator Murray tried to defend herself from her attacker.
Suarez concluded Pace bled to death trying to fight off her attacker. He also said that 9 other wounds to Pace's head, heart, lungs and liver were sufficient enough to cause her death.
Prior to this day in court, Murray's mother, Ann Pace saw those autopsy pictures. Ann openly cried as Suarez described every wound in graphic detail. Ann says while listening, two thoughts lingered in her mind. -- "How hideous and horrible experience it was for Murray and how anyone who could do that to another human being does not deserve to be among us."
Thursday prosecutors will begin presenting evidence in the Gina Wilson Green case. Lee is already facing a life sentence for the murder conviction of Geralyn DeSoto. If convicted in Pace's rape and murder he could face the death penalty.
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